SpaceX Launches Earth-Observing Satellite, Lands Rocket on Ship at Sea

Vandenberg AFB set to launch satellite aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

Thursday's mission pushed SpaceX past Russian Federation, which has 11, for the most orbital launches of any single entity.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) congratulated Taiwan's FormoSat-5 satellite team and its partners for successfully launching the first locally developed satellite into orbit early Friday.

It was the 15th successful landing for the a first-stage booster by SpaceX, with the others occuring following Florida launches.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched a Taiwanese Earth-observation satellite today (Aug. 24) and then came back down for a pinpoint landing on a ship at sea.


SpaceX has succeeded with a launch of one of its Falcon 9 rockets today, for client Taiwan National Space Organization (NSPO). Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but NSPO is widely understood to be paying far less than the Falcon 9 list price of more than $60 million for this launch. The second stage continued carrying Formosat-5 toward its prescribed orbit, and the first stage performed a series of maneuvers to head toward the SpaceX drone ship "Just Read the Instructions", which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

The community can view the launch from the Hawk's Nest on Highway 1 south of Vandenberg Air Force Base' main gate.

Vandenberg's next Falcon 9 rocket reportedly is targeting September 30, with another 10 Iridium Next communication satellites ready to head to space.

It's hard to believe it was less than two years ago that a SpaceX Falcon 9 landing was an elusive and unprecedented achievement.

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